EXCLUSIVE: Former Vice President Mike Pence, reflecting on Sept. 11, 2001, advised Fox News on Friday that the “failings” of the Biden administration in Afghanistan “cannot diminish the heroism and service” of U.S. military males and girls, saying the safety of the United States in the final 20 years is a “tribute to the sacrifice” of this “technology of heroes.”
During an unique interview with Fox News, the former vp shared a message to military households who’ve misplaced family members, in addition to energetic obligation and veteran members of the U.S. armed forces.
“We are going to mark tomorrow, 20 years to the day since 9/11, with out having had a significant terrorist assault on American soil,” Pence mentioned. “That is owing, solely, to the males and girls who stepped ahead to defend freedom in Afghanistan and in the War on Terror.”
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“And so, the failings of the Biden administration in Afghanistan cannot diminish the heroism and service of all those that introduced us to today,” he mentioned.
Pence shared a deeply private story with Fox News about Sept. 11, 2001, when he was a freshman member of the U.S. Congress. He was in his workplace in the Longworth Office Building close to the U.S. Capitol when the Pentagon was hit, and instructed his employees to evacuate the constructing.
Pence recalled strolling throughout the road in the route of the Capitol, telling Fox News he would “always remember the sights and sounds of that day.”
“The Capitol was hemorrhaging with individuals popping out of each door and working in each route,” he mentioned. “I regarded to the west to see half of the sky was a transparent, blue, sunny day, and the different half was full of mud brown, and smoke, billowing out of the Pentagon.”
Pence later joined congressional management in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters throughout from the Capitol constructing, the place he realized that one other plane was sure for the U.S. Capitol in a matter of minutes.
“I keep in mind I regarded proper out the window to see the Capitol dome, and my instant thought was the Capitol itself – this nice image of democracy about to be attacked and destroyed – a construction that had impressed the world since the days of the Civil War,” Pence mentioned, noting that, at that time, and for months after, “there have been no Republicans and no Democrats in the room—simply Americans.”
“That was the spirit that animated Washington, D.C. for the months that adopted 9/11,” Pence mentioned.
The 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93, all of whom misplaced their lives, are believed to have prevented a bigger assault by combating again towards the terrorists who hijacked the aircraft. The subject in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the place the aircraft crashed, is only a 20-minute flight from the U.S. Capitol.
“I’ll all the time consider, it’s doubtless that I used to be capable of go residence and hug my household as a result of of what these selfless and patriotic Americans did on Flight 93, so for me, there’s all the time a particular place in my coronary heart for the heroes on Flight 93,” Pence advised Fox News.
Pence recalled returning residence to his spouse, former second woman Karen Pence, and his three younger youngsters, on the night of Sept. 11.
“We sat round the kitchen desk and talked about what occurred and prayed about it as a household,” he mentioned, explaining to his youngsters that “Daddy could be working loads in the days forward.”
“I mentioned I had to return to work, and my youngest, Audrey, who was 5 years previous, and is now a training legal professional, adopted me out the door, and mentioned, ‘Dad, I’ve a query,’” he recalled. “I mentioned I had to return to work, and she mentioned ‘I’ve a query,’ and she stomped her ft. Exasperated, I rotated and mentioned, ‘What?’”
“She regarded up at me along with her large brown eyes and mentioned, ‘If we’ve got to make a struggle, do it’s a must to go?’” Pence remembered. “I dropped down on one knee and threw my arms round her, as a result of, all of a sudden, I knew the place her little coronary heart was at, and I simply mentioned, ‘Daddy is simply too previous.’”
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But Pence mentioned, “there’s not a day passed by that I haven’t thought of each dad, each mother, each son, each daughter, each partner, that answered that query otherwise.”
“Not as a result of they needed to, however as a result of they selected to,” Pence mentioned. “And practically 6 million Americans have put on the uniform and defended our freedom and nice sacrifice.”
He added: “The males and girls, in the wake of 9/11, who stepped ahead, and mentioned, ‘right here am I, ship me,’ is deeply inspiring to me.”
Pence went on to explain the Biden administration’s transfer to withdraw all U.S. military property from Afghanistan on Aug. 31 as “disastrous” and a “shame.”
“It dishonored the service and sacrifice of all of the males and girls who fought and defended freedom all through Operation Enduring Freedom and all of our efforts in Afghanistan,” he mentioned. “It grieved me deeply to see that happen.”
Pence mentioned it was “unconscionable” that Biden left “Americans and America’s allies behind.”
“He surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban,” Pence mentioned.
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The former vp advised Fox News the Trump administration’s “deal” struck with the Taliban was “predicated on the credible menace of the use of pressure.”
“We made it clear. They have been to not hurt Americans, they have been to work with the Afghan authorities, they have been to decide to not be a secure haven, or we might hit them laborious,” Pence mentioned, noting that he was “with President Trump when he spoke with Mullah Baradar,” a co-founder of the Taliban, and recalled Trump saying, “when you break the deal, we’ll hit you tougher than ever earlier than.”
“We went 18 months with out one American casualty, and we have been on monitor for an orderly and dignified withdrawal,” Pence mentioned, pointing to Trump’s unique May 2021 withdrawal date. “But Biden inexplicably delayed the withdrawal, effectively into the combating season, and had our military leaving earlier than each American was out.”
Pence mentioned the cope with the Taliban got here collectively simply weeks after the Trump administration took down Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and after the takedown of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
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“They knew we meant enterprise. The world understood that this was a president prepared to make use of American military energy to advance America’s pursuits,” he mentioned. “This by no means needed to occur the means it occurred below the Biden Administration.”
He added: “It was a shame and it dishonored service and sacrifice.”